Today Randall Hunt posted an “emotional rant about AWS support” chronicling what he’s seen from them over the past ten years, and invited others to chime in with their experiences. Given that I’m arguably one of the four most sarcastic observers of AWS in the world, I figured I’d take him up on that invitation in a more permanent form than a tweetstorm.
My own AWS account is tiny; I don’t have a paid support plan for it, so my interactions with AWS support in that context are largely limited to asking for obscene service limit increases for ridiculous reasons. That said, I’ve been a consultant for a long time– and have been involved in a number of incidents over the ten years that AWS Support has been around for. It’s in that spirit that I’d like to talk about what I’ve never seen from AWS support.
I’ve never seen AWS support express the exasperation that they must surely feel when confronted with customers who refuse to believe that their issue isn’t AWS’s fault.
I’ve never seen an AWS support person lose their cool when a customer was melting down and screaming at them in the midst of a giant outage.
I’ve never seen AWS support imply that a customer was stupid– even when I was speaking with them on a customer’s behalf, and I was most definitely being stupid. (And belligerent– I was authoritatively wrong.)
I’ve never seen AWS support throw an AWS product team under the bus that I at times argue that they richly deserve.
I’ve never seen AWS support pass the buck to a third party– in fact, just the opposite. I sat on a conference call with a frontline support person, the customer, and the customer’s ISP– and watched as the support rep politely took the ISP’s technician to Networking School, without ever blaming the ISP directly.
I’ve never seen AWS tell a customer that they wouldn’t help them.
And I’ve never seen AWS support end an interaction with a customer without double-checking that everything was okay.
Support is inherently the front line– they’re there to do triage, to diagnose, to repair, and to escalate. They’re not a product team; they can’t fix any feature shortcomings or bugs that they discover. They get an awful lot of crap from an awful lot of directions– but they are and remain one of the best things about AWS.
Here’s to another ten years.